Remember These 5 Things for your First Virtual Reality Social Media Video

You may be a seasoned veteran when it comes to creating video content, but virtual/augmented reality is a new beast with a new set of rules. Whether you’re hiring VR professionals or your team has the time and tools to experiment with it themselves, here are a few things to consider when diving into your first virtual reality social media video.

1. Your shot list will look different than usual

Traditional films jump from shot to shot in order to show the audience different snippets of a world that they’re seeing from afar (like going through a photo album of a friend’s vacation). VR, on the other hand, immerses the viewer into the world and gives them freedom to explore it (like actually being on the friend’s vacation). As a result, the old technique of jumping from frame to frame creates a disorienting experience and doesn’t work with this new medium. Any shots you want to get will need to be longer than you’re likely used to and can’t cut from one to the next too often.

2. There’s more than just one plane of view to think about

This one is probably the most obvious, but it’s easy to forget about. Traditional films are based on having a limited field of view, while virtual reality videos require the filmmaker to think about each shot in 360 degrees. This has a couple of immediate implications. For starters, the filmmaker and crew can no longer hide behind the camera. Everyone involved needs to either blend into the scene or hide after hitting record. 360 degrees also means that much more space needs to be choreographed. Don’t forget to craft the space that falls outside of your intended plane for the viewer.

Bonus Tip: Social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube have dove head first into the virtual reality market. They’re making it pretty easy for brands to upload 360 and virtual reality videos. Here’s how to upload one on Facebook and on YouTube (360, VR).

3. Angles matter more than ever

Watching a traditional film leaves the viewer outside the world looking in and the camera is manipulated to show that world in interesting ways. But in VR, whatever happens to the camera also happens to the viewer. Think through how they’re supposed to be experiencing the world they’ve entered and orchestrate the camera angles to make it feel authentic. Is the viewer supposed to be an adult standing up? Make sure that the height of the camera matches that. Otherwise, a disconnect is created that reminds the viewer they aren’t physically in the world they’re watching. Check out Google’s Principal Filmmaker for VR, Jessica Brillhart’s Google I/O talk for more great insights on how to think about creating VR experiences.

4. Mind your points of interests (and remember they aren’t just visual)

One of the exciting parts of VR as a medium is that you can’t 100% know where the viewer will be looking at any given moment. You can, however, help guide them along by how you place your points of interests. Points of interests are of course visual, but, if the user will have a headset on, they can also be audio cues that entice them to turn a certain direction.

Bonus Tip: If you’re creating a simple VR video for social media, it will likely be a 360 video for Facebook which means the viewer will typically be clicking and dragging to navigate the film on their screen or moving their mobile device around in their hands. Keep this in mind when deciding where to place your points of interest so that the viewer doesn’t have to work too hard to find them or hold their phone at an awkward angle for a prolonged time.

5. This is your chance to create immersive, compelling experiences

VR is an incredible breakthrough that gives brands the ability to engage with their fans in a new way. It’s an empathy machine that captivates audiences and puts them into new places and situations. While social media is a way for brands to have a conversation with their fans on a daily basis, VR paired with social media is a way for brands to create an even more personable experience.

Have you made a VR film for social media yet? Share the link below in the comments and tell us all about it!

Ashley Williams

Ashley Williams

Ashley has been crafting posts and building social media strategy since 2012. She's done social media in the nonprofit, socially conscious business, health, fashion and tech industries. She studied journalism at San Diego State University and brings years of newspaper experience to her social media approach. When Ashley isn’t helping brands make social media magic, she’s traveling the world (16 countries and counting) or enjoying San Diego beers.